A National Time of Remembrance
for the Victims of COVID-19
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whose birth we are preparing to celebrate once again. It is December 13 as I write this, Sunday evening of the third Sunday of Advent.
I am writing to share with you the action of our Session taken at their Called Meeting this past Thursday, December 10. Following the Governor's request and subsequent guidance from the Presbytery of Mid-Kentucky Hebron chose to go to virtual worship only beginning on Sunday, November 22 through Sunday, December 13. Our understanding as a Session at that time was that prior to the expiration of the guidance we would meet again to discern our next step. That was the purpose of Thursday's meeting.
The Session has decided to return to in-person worship on Sunday, December 20 and going forward. The circumstances now are not less problematic than they were between August 23 and November 15 when we were offering the possibility of in-person worship. As a result, while we are returning to the possibility of in-person worship, we are doing so with all of the precautions also still in place; meaning we will take temperatures, we will have hand sanitizer at the entrance (and exits), we will social distance, we will wear masks, and, while we will have instrumental music, there will not be congregational singing at this time.
It is understood that this opening back up for in-person worship will not mean that everyone will be comfortable returning for in-person worship. We will continue to record worship and to post worship on our Facebook page and on our website (hebronpc.net). If you do not feel well we encourage you to stay home. If you simply do not feel like gathering in a group inside at this point we understand and encourage you to do what works best for you at this time.
Along with the notice of a return to in-person worship on Sunday mornings the Session also decided that for 2020 our Christmas Eve service would be virtual only. Many of you know that this service, along with the Good Friday Tenebrae service, is my favorite of the year. We believe that much of what makes this service impactful to us in its in-person incarnation is what would make it problematic this year. There will be a virtual service that will be posted and I am going to suggest a time when we might watch it at the same time (understanding that not everyone will be able to watch at a particular time on Christmas Eve).
I have a request to make of you for the virtual Christmas Eve service. I would love for as many as possible to share two pictures. The first picture would be one of you (individuals or families) with a lit candle or candles. I want to put those together for the time of candle lighting. The second would be a fun picture of you with a Christmas tree or decoration or in a Christmas sweater or any combination of these or some other Advent/Christmas theme. I want to assemble that group together for a different video for that service. It would be great to have a lot of response to these requests. I know in talking to you that you enjoy having the opportunity to see each other. Some who have not tried in-person worship yet have not seen folks in a very long time. This is a chance to see one another! Please send your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org or text them to me at 502 492 3223.
Thanks for your continued faithfulness through 2020. One other request I'd make is for anyone who has thought about your Star Word from last January throughout the year to share your reflections with me. I'd be glad to receive something written that I could share or a video or if you would like let me know and I'll come and record a video of you sharing. It's getting to be that time of year as Christmas will come and go and it will be January again with the visit of the Wise Men on Epiphany and new Star Words for a new year.
Praying that you are experiencing the blessings of the season even in this challenging year as we hope, wait, watch and witness as Christmas draws near and prepares to unfold once more.